I’ve been working with David for a long time now and people always ask how we write together. In short, I’d write the first half and David would edit my work, before he’d continue on with the second half. I’d follow behind him, reading his sections and adding my comments, then we’d do several more passes before sending it to our brilliant editor, Heather.
David can be ruthless with my words (he probably is editing these as we speak). One time—the only time— I unknowingly left _edit changes_ turned on in a document and came back to find it covered in red corrections. I immediately turned it off.
Despite all this, I trust him. He never throws my words in the trash, but instead recycles them in other parts of the story. He’s a master at jigsawing scenes together, taking pieces and then putting them in better places. When we have our first big success, I’m going to buy him golden scissors for all the cuts he makes.
However, with Shepherd’s Call, we changed how we worked, and I suddenly got to see David edit himself. It was crazy! Just because they were his words, he still accepted they weren’t perfect. He was cutthroat, even with himself.
He’d write and rewrite scenes and bits of dialogue. He’d be reading parts to me, pausing and saying, “That’s got to go,” or “I hope Heather fixes this,” or “Ang, I got nothin’.” Like a ruthless parking enforcement officer, he’d leave nothing unchecked. Everything had to have a permit to stay parked in our story.
Talk about keeping your ego in check.
Despite Angie telling me she was writing about editing this month, and we agreed that it would be the theme of the newsletter, I’m changing it up a little and talking about writing (but it still applies to editing, I promise).
The past year and a half has been slow-going for me. After Angie finished up her half of the book, I took a very long time to do my half. If you’re looking for someone to blame why you don’t have Shepherd’s Call in your hands now, I take full responsibility.
This all happened because of a few reasons. First, although everyone loves our third book, Wolfe in Shepherd’s Clothing, I felt it could’ve been stronger. I see the cracks and wish I could patch them up. So while working on our new book, I tried to tighten things up, leading to the release falling behind. With the deadline blown and looming over me, stress and anxiety followed, which got in the way of the creative flow. I think the biggest challenge though was the words just weren’t coming to me. I felt disconnected from the Shepherd & Wolfe world, and so showing up to the page felt like pulling teeth.
But something changed the past few weeks. If you follow me at davidgane.com, you’ll know that I’ve started writing a story a day. The only real rule is that I have to submit something to the website each day. I don’t know how long it will last (most likely I’ll burn out from stretching myself too thin), but I’ve already felt a change.
Doing the work with such a deadline has proven I can do it and that I can usually produce a semi-coherent story that I’m sometimes proud of. And this discovery has helped with Counios & Gane. Every day I show up to do my part of the writing and I don’t overthink it and the words appear. Now, instead of struggling to get a few words on the page, I end up with enough for Counios & Gane, as well as myself. For now at least, work begets more work.
And bringing it back to editing, much of why it took me so long to finish Shepherd’s Call was that I was self-editing the words before they even got on the page. But now when I show up, even though I’m still ruthless, I always know there are more waiting on the sidelines ready to play.